In 2013 the NFPA officially included Ambulance Chevron Striping guidelines to their recommendations for Ambulances operating in the US. The NFPA 1917 manual contains these guidelines. The recommendations are nearly a duplicate from their NFPA 1901 manual for Chevron Striping for Fire Apparatus made official in 2009, with the addition of Battenberg patterns. It is appropriate to note that although NFPA guidelines are followed by the majority of fire and EMS departments, they are actually guidelines and not laws or federal regulations. (Although some states, counties, and cities have made them official requirements)
A copy of NFPA 1917 6.25.1 -6.25.9 is as follows –
6.25* Retro-reflective Striping. (definition is to return light to its source)
6.25.1* A retro-reflective stripe, a combination of retroreflective stripes, or Battenburg design (checker design) shall be affixed to the ambulance as follows:
- 25 percent of the length of each of the cab side surfaces when approached from each side
- 75 percent of the length of each patient compartment side surfaces when approached from each side
6.25.2 The stripe or combination of stripes shall be no less than 6 inches wide.
6.25.3 The 6 inch wide stripe or combination of stripes shall be permitted to be interrupted by objects (e.g., receptacles, cracks between slats in roll-up doors), provided the full stripe stands out and is noticeable as the ambulance is approached.
6.25.4 A retro-reflective graphic design shall be permitted to replace all or part of the required striping tape on the front and sides of the vehicle if the design or combination thereof covers at least the same surface area as required by 6.25.1.
6.25.5 Any vertically hinged door shall have at least 60 square inches of retro-reflective tape affixed to the inside of the door.
6.25.6* At least 50 percent of the rear-facing vertical surfaces other than glass and lenses, visible when facing from the rear of the ambulance, shall be equipped with retro-reflective tape.
184.108.40.206 Where chevrons are used, each stripe in the chevron shall be a single color alternating between two high-contrast colors.
220.127.116.11 Where Battenburg markings are used –
Each stripe shall be 6 inches in width.
22 The Battenburg markings shall be 144 inches.
6.25.7 All retroreflective sheeting shall conform to the requirements of ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retro-reflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1, for Type I Sheeting.
6.25.8 All retro-reflective materials that are colors not listed in ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retro-reflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1, shall have a minimum coefficient of retro-reflection of 10 candelas when viewed at an observation angle of 0.2 degrees and an entrance angle of −4 degrees. (this is the equivalent of an engineer grade type 1 reflective film)
6.25.9 Any printed or processed retro-reflective film construction shall conform to the standards required of an integral colored film as specified in ASTM D4956, Standard Specification for Retroreflective Sheeting for Traffic Control, Section 6.1.1.
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida , Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 25 years of experience in the reflective safety business. Specializing in vehicle accident and rear end collision reduction through increased visibility.